By Adam Spolane

After leading the University of Houston’s mens basketball team to a 24-6 record and a second place finish in conference play, Kelvin Sampson was named American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

In his fourth year at the school, the Cougars finished 14-4 in conference play, beating top-10 teams Wichita State and Cincinnati along the way. This was Sampson’s third straight 20-win campaign after finishing 13-19 during his first year at Houston.

Before arriving at the University of Houston, Sampson spent six years as an NBA assistant coach with the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks, but prior to that, he was the head coach at Washington State, Oklahoma and Indiana. He was the Pac 10 Coach of the Year in 1991 and Big 8 Coach of the Year in 1995.

Houston is seeded third in the AAC Tournament, and will take on either East Carolina or Central Florida in Friday’s quarterfinal. Regardless of what happens this week in Orlando, the Cougars will play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010, the fourth different school Sampson has guided to the Tournament. He took Oklahoma to the Final Four in 2002.

Sampson isn’t the only Cougar to receive All Conference honors. Guard Rob Gray was named first team All Conference, while guard Armoni Brooks was named Sixth Man of the Year, and Fabian White Jr made the All Rookie Team.


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